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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

How-To Plan An Amazing Pool Party

Pool parties are a fantastic way to cool off during the hot summer months and celebrate with friends and family by your side. Pool parties bring great joy to our hearts and are a great way to celebrate a birthday, end of the school year or family reunion!

While the party itself will be of the upmost fun, preparing is very important. A party without a plan will leave you to busy to join in the fun and no one (least of all me) wants that. Follow these steps to help you plan an amazing pool party and some of the burden off of the big event. Allowing you all the time you need to sit back and enjoy the moment.

How-To Plan An Amazing Pool Party

Guest List

Think about all the people you want to invite and then rethink it by counting how many the pool can actually handle. Be sure to consider the number of both adults and children as all of us tend to enjoy the splash of a great party. Yes, I know the number could be vastly different but this will save you the chaos of having an overcrowded space.


In this wondrous technology age, sending an invite can be as easy as it is free. You can create a customized photo invite online with PicMonkey or on your own PC with Photoshop. Then send it to everyone over email, via Facebook or even text. You can also print off the invite from your printer and mail it through snail mail for those that are not ready to engage the web-way.


Think about both fun and safety. I would request that attendees be sure to bring any life jackets or swimming aids that they or their child needs. This also includes approved swim diapers for the younger ones. With this being said, there's always at least one that forgets, just does not own what they or maybe the equipment becomes damaged during the party. Keeping a few pieces available as extras is a good idea.

When it comes to fun, supplies can be simple or outrageous. Water balls, dive sticks, noodles and float are a great idea to have on hand for your upcoming pool party. If you are planning a themed event, be sure to grab things that fit the mood.

How-To Plan An Amazing Pool Party

Our favorite water party is a Pirates & Mermaids. At one point in time, everyone (at least the ones I know) have dreamed of being a fish or mermaid. This often comes after a Disney movie night. Why not bring those dreams to reality a few monofins, mermaid fins at These are so much fun to swim with for both kids and adults. Best of all, they can be worn with your favorite swimsuit or as part of a mermaid tail which allows everyone to join in on the fin-action.


If your pool is outdoors and at your home, you have a lot of options. Homemade popsicles, hamburgers, chips & dip and fresh fruit are our go-to. You could also offer cold-cut meats and cheeses as well as a selection of veggie trays for a healthier choice. Cold drinks should be plentiful as well. Lots of waters, lemonade, tea and some sport drinks are the best for keeping you hydrated when you are hosting during the summer months.

If the pool is in a public area, be sure to check with the company on what you are allowed to bring in to the area ahead of time.

How-To Plan An Amazing Pool Party


Less is more. Keeping it light on decor is a must when water is involved. Finding paper, plastic and other items in the pool that do not belong there and could be a hazard is something you can avoid by going light in this area. Instead, used electric lanterns, high banners and themed servingware to help set the mood.


Never leave a child unattended in the pool. Be sure to have plenty of helpful adults in or around the pool to keep an eye on things. A good rule of thumb is one adult for every 3-5 children. You could also considering hiring a lifeguard. Often the local city pools have a list of licenced individuals and could point you in the right direction.

In the end, planning for both safety and necessity will leave you open to enjoy the party with the attendees. All that is left for you to do now is eat, swim and laugh.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

10 Things Only Domestic Abuse Victims Understand

When you have been the victim of domestic abuse, there are things you will later realize other people can never understand. Whether you are an abuse victim looking for sincere understanding about your experience, or a friend of a victim seeking knowledge and ways to help, this list is a great tool. Here are 10 Things Only Domestic Abuse Victims Understand. 

While there indeed may be some people outside this realm of pain that can understand, these are more commonly found with those individuals who have been abused or traumatized in some way at the hand of another individual.

10 Things Only Domestic Abuse Victims Understand

You will miss your abuser. No matter how horrible they are and were to you, there will be days and times when you miss them. The fact is, most victims of domestic abuse spend many years with their abuser building a relationship. This fact is found especially significant in victims within the confines of marriage. Don't belittle these feelings, but don't let them cloud your judgment either. Accept them, seek counseling to help you overcome them and let the abuser go. 

Looks really can kill. You know the expression on a face or set of a jaw can lead to bad things for you. Domestic abuse victims will find themselves sitting in fear of non abusers simply because of the way they look or an expression on their face. While the individual may be completely safe, the past can make expressions become more menacing no matter the individual wearing them. 

You will want to go back. There will be times when the act of simply making it through a day will leave you exhausted. In those moments of constantly looking over your shoulder or dealing with the stress outside the abusive relationship, you will want to go back. Fight the urge, and remember the pain. 

You get sick of hearing non victims say they understand. Reality is that each victim has faced a singularly unique to them type of abuse. When those who have never experienced that continually say, “I understand what you are going through”, the victim gets angry. 

It's not as simple as packing a bag and waling out the door. No matter how many times people say, “just leave”, you know it isn't as simple as that. Whether you are financially bound, legally bound through marriage or simply emotionally beaten down, it is never under any circumstances as easy as walking away. 

Noises, smells, TV shows, movies, songs and even locations on a street can bring fear pummeling back fast. All the past memories of abuse can become connected to many things you will face daily. Others may not understand why you no longer like certain foods, music or even types of movies. 

Cliché phrases only make things worse. Saying things like, “you are better off” or even “it will get easier don't make it better or easier. 

Anger comes up out of nowhere for no apparent reason. You can be walking through an aisle in the grocery store on a great and beautiful day and suddenly be hit with anger and frustration out of nowhere. The long term emotional effect of abuse knows now boundaries of time, place or propriety.

You are often angrier and more disappointed in yourself than your abuser. Facing the fact that you actively chose to stay in a situation can bring about self loathing like nothing else you will face. 

You will never truly get over the abuse. With time, counseling and separation from the person or point of abuse, you can find peace. You will heal and overcome various problems as time goes by. Yet the truth is, on many levels you will never truly get over the abuse. Whether it was years of physical and emotional abuse, or a one time rape event, it will stick with you for eternity. Even with years of restoration to your self esteem and emotional health, you will still make decisions with your abuse in the back of your mind. 

With time comes healing, but healing doesn't mean you forget what happened. While victims of domestic abuse can recover and lead wonderful productive lives, there are many aspects of those lives that are going to be more difficult because of the abuse. These 10 things only domestic abuse victims understand are just the tip of the iceberg. Every abusive relationship brings about a different type of pain to recover from and overcome. Next time you think you know what someone is experiencing, take a moment to realize that for victims, it can be far more difficult to overcome than you could ever imagine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ways to Keep Your Fitness Journey on Track

A fitness journey isn't about just losing weight. It's about learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you can be the best version of yourself. This is never easy to do and takes a lot of hard work and self-discovery. However, there are some things you can do to help get you through the process a little easier. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Way to Keep Your Fitness Journey on Track

Workout With Friends

Working out with friends can make the exercising more fun and help keep you accountable. Look for fitness classes Ann Arbor MI to try together. Take early morning walks around a park. You'll likely find that having people around you makes exercising something you enjoy.

Use a Fitness Tracker

Tracking your progress along the way can help keep you motivated. Many people choose to wear fitness trackers on their wrist, which tells them information such as how many steps they've taken and how many calories they've burned that day. You can also use an app to help keep track of this information and input the food you've eaten to help give you more accurate results.

Post About It

Posting about your fitness journey online is a great way to keep you motivated while also motivating others. Share your results on social media or start a blog. Let people know what does and does not work for you so that they can give it a shot as well. Having people know that you're working towards your fitness goals can help keep you on track. 

Remember that a fitness journey takes time. Don't get discouraged if you aren't always getting the results you want right away. The important thing is to stick with it and keep doing your best. After all, this is a lifestyle change and not just a one time diet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Safety Hacks For Your Home & Auto

Being safe isn’t anything to play around with. Safety is an important issue no matter where you are or what time of day. You can become safer if you follow the following tips.

Safety Hacks For Your Home & Auto

Always Wear Seat Belts – Even if you’re not going far, it’s imperative that you always wear a seat belt in the car. Whether you’re a passenger or a driver, seat belts do save lives. A minor accident can become a tragedy without seat belts.

Buy Insurance – Life insurance, accident insurance, and other types of insurance might not save your life (well, with the exception of health insurance), but it will help make anything that happens to you less of a problem.

Baby Proof – If you are going to have a baby or are about to be a grandparent, have friends over with babies and take the time to baby proof your home and invest in a few good pieces of nursery furniture for the wee one. You can hire a professional or you can do it yourself by crawling around on the floor to see what the child sees. Cover anything and use the appropriate approved products for best results.

Get Tracking – If you have a teenager with a cell phone, turn on the tracking feature. Then, if they are lost, or worse – taken – you can find them by using the tracking app on their phone through a computer.

Car Mirrors – The side mirrors on your car should be set so that you cannot see any part of your car when looking into it. It’s for blind spots and this is the best position to help you avoid an accident.

Car Keys – Don’t put too many things on your keychain that houses your car keys. Having a heavy chain can ruin the ignition of your car and it could even shut off while you’re driving, thus causing a horrible accident.

Reverse Park – When legal to do so, especially near a busy street, park in a parking space backwards. Then when you have to pull out into traffic you can do so going straight instead of backwards, improving your line of sight and helping you avoid an accident.

Unplug It – Not only will this make your electric bill lower, it will also make you safer. Electrical fires are less likely to happen when appliances are not plugged in when not in use. It might seem like a pain, but so is a fire.

Avoid Flashing Cash – When traveling or going about your day, it’s important that you don’t flash cash when paying for things. Take out the expected amount from your wallet in the car, then pay with that to avoid showing everyone in line your money.

Staying safe is a matter of common sense. Don’t talk to strangers is a good starting point but if you must, don’t share everything with them. Personal information should be saved for people you know well. Before doing anything, ask yourself if you’d advise your 16-year-old daughter to do it. If the answer is no, don’t do it either.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Make Cents of a Healthy Diet with Recipes

One of the great myths of healthy eating is that it’s expensive. Making healthier choices can actually save you money when you know how to shop smart.

To help encourage healthier communities, the American Heart Association and Aramark have simple tips to keep in mind as you seek out affordable, nutritious and tasty food options for your family:
  • Shop with a plan in mind. Taking a list to the store helps limit impulse purchases, but it’s OK to make smart swaps while shopping if items you’d normally use are on sale.
  • Consider your fruit and veggie options. Locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables are often reasonably priced for recipes like this Mediterranean Chicken and Grain Bowl. Canned and frozen options, meanwhile, can be just as nutritious as fresh options.
  • Cook once, eat twice. Choose recipes that make enough food to enjoy fresh for one meal and as leftovers later, such as this four-serving Curry-Spiced Tofu with Asian Vegetables.
  • Buy in bulk. Look for items with long shelf lives like whole grains and non-perishables such as canned beans and vegetables.
  • Focus on dishes with limited, common ingredients. They are easy to prepare and allow you to avoid purchasing items like rarely used spices.
  • Develop a budget. Assess your current food expenses each week. Multiply by the number of weeks that month to find your monthly food budget and determine if this fits with your other monthly expenses.
Find more recipes and tips to make healthy meals more affordable at or

Mediterranean Chicken and Grain Bowl

Mediterranean Chicken and Grain Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Aramark
Servings: 6
  • 8          ounces farro or brown rice
  • 6          cups spinach, stems removed
  • 1 1/2    cups diced seedless cucumbers
  • 1 1/2    diced tomatoes
  • 6          thin slices red onion   
  • 3          cups cauliflower florets
  • 3/4       cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 3          cups cooked skinless chicken breast, visible fat discarded
  • 6          tablespoons fat-free or low-fat crumbled feta cheese
  • 3          tablespoons kalamata olives
  1. Cook farro according to package instructions.
  2. On serving plate, place 1/2 cup farro. Around farro, arrange 1 cup spinach; 1/4 cup cucumber; 1/4 cup tomatoes; 1 slice red onion, separated into rings; and 1/2 cup cauliflower.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over salad. Top with 1/2 cup chicken and garnish with 1 tablespoon feta cheese and 1 1/2 teaspoons olives. Repeat with additional servings. 
Nutritional information per serving: 342 calories; 12 g total fat; 52 mg cholesterol; 551 mg sodium; 35 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 8 g sugars; 25 g protein.

Curry-Spiced Tofu with Asian Vegetables

Curry-Spiced Tofu with Asian Vegetables

Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association
Servings: 4
  • 12        ounces light, extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry, cut into four slices
  • 1          tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, curry powder, divided
  • 12        ounces packaged fresh stir-fry vegetables
  • 1          tablespoon water
  • 2          teaspoons canola oil
  • 1          teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1          large onion, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 4          large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4       cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4-1/2             teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  1. Put tofu on large plate. Sprinkle tofu on both sides with 1 tablespoon curry powder.
  2. In large microwaveable bowl, microwave vegetables and water on high 2-3 minutes, or until vegetables are almost tender-crisp. Pour off remaining water.
  3. In large nonstick skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat bottom. Cook tofu in single layer 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned. Transfer to separate large plate. Cover loosely to keep warm.
  4. In same skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat bottom. Cook onion 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  5. Stir in vegetables and garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir in coconut milk, chili garlic sauce and remaining curry powder. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Spoon vegetable mixture over tofu.
Nutritional information per serving: 151 calories; 6.5 g total fat; 86 mg sodium; 14 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 4 g sugars; 10 g protein.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Make Your Weight Loss Goals a Reality

Make Your Weight Loss Goals a Reality

Losing weight is a highly personal journey as a wide range of factors can affect a person’s ability to do so. There’s no one approach to weight loss; rather, the best approach is the one that fits your life and body best.

Get motivated to reach your weight loss goals with these expert tips.

Set realistic goals. Most experts agree you shouldn’t lose more than 1-2 pounds per week. More rapid loss may shock your system, and chances are you’re depriving your body of important nutrients. More aggressive loss is also less likely to be permanent or sustainable; long-term results generally come with steady loss over a period of time.

Eat well. Regardless what eating plan you choose, recognize the importance of nutrition in your weight loss program. Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume, so build your menu around nutrient-rich foods that fill you up. Strive for a well-balanced diet that encompasses all the food groups and, if necessary, discuss your goals with a doctor or nutritionist who can help you identify the best foods to enjoy and those to avoid.

Consider a supplement. If managing cravings or your appetite hinders your weight loss, a supplement may be a good solution. For example, RiduZone is a patented supplement that gives your body more of a substance it already creates called Oleoylethanolamide (OEA). In essence, OEA tells your brain you are full and it’s time to stop eating. Developed and endorsed by Dr. Jay Yepuri, a board-certified gastroenterologist, the supplement is a non-stimulant that may help you feel full faster to reduce caloric intake and boost metabolism to burn stored fat.

Make Your Weight Loss Goals a Reality

Get active. Creating a calorie deficit is necessary to lose weight, and increasing your physical activity helps ensure you’re burning calories. However, getting active isn’t just about playing the numbers game. Physical activity also promotes overall wellness with numerous physical and mental health benefits, including improving circulation and stimulating feel-good endorphins.

Stay committed. It’s easy to fall off your weight loss plan when unexpected circumstances arise. Give yourself a little grace and permission for occasional misses so you stay motivated to get back to your program. That may mean waiting for a cold to pass and doing less strenuous workouts at home or making extra healthy choices at mealtime in advance of an indulgent event. To help make keeping your commitments easier, consider an option like RiduZone to boost your body’s natural appetite-curbing power.

What is OEA?

Oleoylethanolamide (OEA) is a metabolite of oleic acid, a naturally produced substance that interacts with appetite-controlling receptors in the small intestine to signal the brain you are full. It also helps boost metabolism. However, as a result of food choices and excess body fat, naturally produced OEA may require supplementation to achieve the desired effect on appetite or body fat.

Created to mimic this naturally occurring metabolite, RiduZone is the only weight management supplement that contains OEA as an ingredient. Its production has been reviewed and is accepted as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

Less fat
A clinical study published in the “Journal of Lipid Research” shows higher blood levels of OEA, which is derived from oleic acid-rich olive oil, correlate to lower amounts of body fat. This means weight loss results may be more visible.

Fewer calories A prominent research study published in the journal “Food & Function” shows higher circulating levels of OEA can result in a significant reduction in calorie intake. Over time, OEA users become satisfied with smaller, healthier-sized portions.

Find more information to help jump-start your weight management program at .

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Smart Saving Strategies for Women

Smart Saving Strategies for Women

Money management and building long-term financial health is a careful balancing act between long- and short-term financial needs, and now is a perfect opportunity to re-examine your goals. People sometimes focus on short-term needs, making sure they can cover routine bills and living essentials. However, many Americans do not have the resources to cover an unexpected expense, much less save for the future.

Data from the U.S. Financial Health Pulse shows that Americans are savings-constrained, over-indebted and underinsured. In fact, despite it being the longest period of economic expansion in modern times, 79% of Americans are not financially healthy, and many live paycheck to paycheck just to cover bills, rent and basic living expenses.

As a result, 60% of households are unprepared for a financial shock, with 41% unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense without borrowing money or selling a personal item. This makes saving incredibly challenging, especially for many low-income households.

“The data makes it quite clear that a significant segment of America is struggling to create a meaningful savings account, whether it’s intended as an emergency fund or a means of attaining a goal without incurring debt,” said Deborah Winshel, global head of social impact at BlackRock.

Last year, the firm launched its Emergency Savings Initiative, a program designed to help people living on low incomes gain access to, and increase usage of, savings strategies and tools to help establish important safety nets.

As with any financial matter, there’s no one “right” way to save. Individual circumstances require a customized approach to determine the best method to fit needs. In addition to traditional saving methods, Common Cents Lab, Commonwealth and the Financial Health Network are working with financial institutions and other enterprises on an initiative to create new and experimental programs that address the challenges many consumers face when it comes to saving money.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider these options and consult with your credit union, employer or financial institution to learn more about the options available to fit your unique lifestyle and savings goals.

Automated Savings Often offered as an option through employer payroll, this approach allows you to designate a portion of your paycheck to be deposited in a savings account. Whether you choose to make it a flat amount or percentage of your income, it’s an easy method that allows you to consistently funnel money into savings with a one-time setup process.

Round Up Some financial institutions offer programs in which every transaction you make on your account, or perhaps just those made using your debit card, are rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. The difference between that whole dollar amount and your actual purchase amount is then directed into your savings account.

Prize-Linked Savings Marrying the fun of winning prizes and a savings account, this type of program incentivizes personal saving by offering an on-going, risk-free chance to win a prize, such as additional cash, by making savings account deposits. Promising both security and opportunity (and perhaps some fun), the amount deposited by the account holder is never at risk, unlike lotteries and games of chance.

Windfall Moments When you receive a substantial amount of money from a source like a tax refund or a work bonus, it can be tempting to splurge on immediate needs or something fun, like a vacation. Allowing yourself to enjoy a portion of the money isn’t a bad idea, but you can also take advantage of the unplanned income as an opportunity to launch, or grow, your savings account.

Collective Savings Accountability is a common barrier to better saving habits, but when others are counting on you to contribute your share, there’s a greater level of responsibility at play. A collective savings account may be a good solution for a shared goal like a trip, special project or funding a special event for a loved one.

To learn more about the savings problem and some of the work being done to help employees, customers, gig workers and students take essential steps toward long-term financial well-being, visit